Okay so this post is for the wandering souls, like myself, who dream about moving somewhere new but don’t know just where that might be. I’m currently working on my Master’s degree in Nebraska but dreaming about moving somewhere warmer and more exciting after graduation!
What do you want?
First things first. What do you want in your new hometown? Would you like to live in a rural area, major city, or somewhere in-between? Do you want to go somewhere totally new or live within a certain distance from family and friends? What kind of culture is important to you? Maybe Broadway shows? Professional sports? Thai food? How about recreational activities? Do you like to hike? Surf? Play disc golf? Consider the type of climate you desire. Is snow at Christmastime important to you? If yes, I wouldn’t move anywhere below 40 degrees latitude! However, if you’re like me, I wouldn’t mind living in the tropics 365 days a year. Bring on the heat and humidity! Everyone is different so it’s really important to reflect on which things are important to you (and your family, if you have one). Below, you’ll find several different qualities to look into when researching possible new hometowns.
This should be at the top of your list when looking at various cities. After all, you can’t survive in a city if you hate your job or can’t even find a job! One way to connect to local professionals and companies is through Linkedin.com. Not only can you connect with these networks, you can also search for jobs, apply for jobs and improve your career. First, make sure to build up your profile with all you’ve done and also connect with as many people as you can. Upload resumes, professional letters and a professional-looking photo. This network is a great way to make connections and get things done before you even make your move. It will also give you a sense of the job market in different cities.
Glassdoor.com is another great resource for checking out job listings throughout the country. The site will show you salary information, company reviews, CEO reviews and all sorts of helpful reports.
Can you afford it?
After you find a couple places that have a good outlook on the job situation, consider the salary you’ll likely have in relation to the cost of living for that location. This may take a bit of research but it shouldn’t be too bad. Google is your friend! Check out the different housing options and take a look at this site that lists the prices for all sorts of random items, from a pair of jeans to a gallon of gas. Shout out requests for information on your social media sites, too. It’s a small world and you likely know someone or have a friend of a friend who has the skinny on the city you’re researching.
Have children? Education and Safety Ranks
If you’re a parent, one thing you’ve got at the forefront of your mind is how the city ranks in terms of education. GreatSchools.com is a site that offers reviews, test scores and ranks of different schools. But again, use Google and do as much research as you can. In my opinion, education is one of the best gifts you can give your kids. It’s worth a bit of effort to make sure the cities you’re researching have quality education systems!
As far as safety and crime statistics, calling local police departments would be the easiest and best resource to utilize. If they don’t have the actual information, they’ll know who will!
Can you see yourself there?
Finally, ask yourself whether or not you can really see yourself enjoying life there! Do you like the local culture and climate? Can you picture your family fitting in? Is it a place you think would benefit your career? After all your research, you should feel a sense of excitement and expectation. If you don’t, it probably isn’t a place you’re genuinely excited about or would be happy with. Don’t make a leap if you can’t get excited.
Happy dreaming and researching! And please, if you can think of any other resources for those of us still dreaming, share them below. Share your experience, share your tips.
About the author: Victoria is, like she said, dreaming of a warmer climate and a city where she has access to some fantastic Thai food. As she works her way through grad school by working for HireAHelper, she enjoys fishing, stargazing and quality time with family and friends in her downtime.